One thing about Gestapo wannabes: they never, ever mention the source of their inspiration. Instead, they concoct some medium-falutin' nonsense about how they're performing a public service while they're subverting the American way. Of late, one of the most popular cover stories is "trying to make our community a safer place to raise children," the current line of BS being spouted by that pitiable dimwit and censorious twit Bob Anderson, who presides over the fraudulently-named Oklahomans for Children and Families organization and who is rapidly becoming the leading Target of Opportunity for this column.

Mr Anderson's current quest for headlines involves Volker Schlondorff's 1979 film The Tin Drum, an adaptation of Gunter Grass' celebrated novel. Relying on something he'd heard on "Christian talk radio" (just in case you thought there couldn't be anything worse than regular talk radio), he had one of his underlings check out the one copy of the film owned by the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City, which was then duly turned over to the police. Did Mr Anderson actually watch the film? Of course not. He's not interested in anything other than his own perverted sexual obsession, his pathological need to control other people's sex lives, even fictional ones.

And storm troopers, you'll remember from history, never travel alone. Oklahoma County District Judge Richard Freeman, who has given out conflicting stories on whether he has seen the film himself, decided that the film was legally obscene, and the cops went to video stores to get the names of people who had rented the film, then to those people's homes to confiscate the tapes. If this sounds bizarre to you, well, the power structure in this part of the world has always had its head in close proximity to its colon. In 1961, steps were taken in Oklahoma City to ban Mad magazine, which resulted in an epic court battle featuring an appearance by legendary Mad publisher William M. Gaines himself. Charges from both sides were eventually dropped after Gaines and his chief adversary agreed that this teapot didn't justify the tempest.

Whether Bob Anderson is smart enough to reach this sort of conclusion himself remains to be seen; in the meantime, at the very least, he's added more fuel to the dumb-Okie stereotype, and he may have thrown a monkey wrench into Oklahoma's obscenity law, which will now almost certainly face a court test. In my opinion, the ongoing Anderson capers justify an extension of Megan's Law — this perv should be locked up indefinitely, lest he censor again.

The Vent

#60
7 July 1997

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